Expectations are high ahead of the 2014 International CES, which will be held in Las Vegas from Tuesday through Friday, giving tech insiders and enthusiasts a chance to catch a glimpse of the consumer electronics products that will shape trends in the coming year.
The Internet of Things (IoT), the world's largest ultra-HD TVs and wearable devices will receive much attention at this year's show.
Smart homes that talk your language
At the centre of IoT, which enables users to connect to gadgets and objects through smart devices, are smart homes.
Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, two Korean tech giants, will unveil advanced smart home systems at the event in the US after those shown at the IFA electronics trade show in Germany in September.
Samsung will reportedly display TVs and smartphones that let consumers monitor their houses and control home appliances such as vacuum cleaners and washing machines.
Samsung TVs that can be controlled by talking, using advanced natural language recognition or by hand gestures are also expected to draw much attention at the show.
Not to be outdone by its local rival, LG Electronics will show its own smart home systems with natural language processing.
By sending messages through mobile messenger LINE run by Naver Corp. to home appliances, users can turn on the devices, such as robotic vacuum cleaners and washing machines.
Through the chat function called "HomeChat," consumers can ask an automated vacuum cleaner to sweep the floors on a set schedule every day, enabling users to keep the house clean when they are away from home.
"Always at the forefront of innovation, LG is continually striving to inspire smarter consumer lifestyles in meaningful ways," said Jo Seong-jin, president and CEO of the LG Electronics' home appliance unit, adding "We're excited to be able to bring to CES our smart appliances with the newest communication and intelligence capabilities."
LG says it will apply the technology to a broader range of home appliances including refrigerators, washing machines and ovens.
TV makers race for UHD leadership
Heated competition among global TV makers in the UHD TV market will continue at the CES trade show as the manufacturers try to wow the world with larger displays, flexible screens and other advanced technology.
Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, which surprised the world with the first concave-screen TVs at the IFA electronics trade show last year, said that they would unveil the world's largest curved-screen Ultra HD TVs at the CES, measuring 105 inches.
Samsung will also showcase the world's largest flat-screen UHD TV, at 110 inches.
Among other TV products, so-called "variable display" TVs could catch the eyes of many visitors at the show.
"Both Korean tech giants are planning to show TVs featuring a flat OLED display that can become curved automatically," an industry source said.
Chinese firms including TCL, Hisense, and Haier will step up their efforts to catch up with the Korean tech companies by incorporating a slew of new technologies into their low-budget UHD TVs.
Haier will introduce new TV models featuring fingerprint scanning technology for changing channels or volume and for authentication when buying items on home shopping channels.
Many are wondering whether the global electronics makers will unveil new wearable devices, including smart watches and fitness gadgets, particularly looking for improvements in battery life, flexible displays and user experience.
Both Samsung and LG reportedly have the next smart watches, named Galaxy Gear 2 and G-Arch respectively, up their sleeves.
However, it is not clear whether the two Korean firms will unveil the smart watches at the CES.
They might introduce health-and-fitness-related wearable devices such as fitness wristbands this time, and attempt to gain more attention for their smart watches by introducing them at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.
Global tech firms are also poised to boast their own wearable technology.
Sony is reportedly planning to unveil the third generation of its SmartWatch, while Qualcomm will introduce a smart watch called Toq.
Car companies to vie for the spotlight
The CES is a venue not only for electronics makers to introduce their innovations, but also one for car businesses to boast new technologies.
Global car manufacturers and vehicle parts makers, including Kia Motors, Ford and Bosch will show off their advanced and smart technology such as driverless cars.
Hyundai Motor Group ― the parent group of Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. ― will participate for the first time in the auto wing of the show.
The Korean vehicle firm is expected to unveil the New Genesis, the latest version of its flagship luxury model, along with its latest telematics systems.
The 2014 show will feature more than 3,200 exhibitors unveiling the latest consumer technology products and services across 15 product categories, according to the consumer electronics association, the organizer of the CES.
"From wearable tech to the latest in 3-D printing, the Internet of Things, driverless cars and sensor technologies, the 2014 CES will feature the world's largest hands-on showcase of emerging innovation" said Karen Chupka, senior vice president of the Consumer Electronics Association, the organizer of the CES.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)